No Bears And Not Many Birds But Still Another Nice Hike In State Game Lands 119
I was still excited and elated from my surprise and unexpected encounter with the bobcat in the Susquehanna Wetlands on Sunday morning. It was such a beautiful animal. And I was so fortunate to see and photograph this usually seclusive critter. I decided to search for another one of my favorite Pennsylvania mammals in State Game lands 119 in Dennison Township, Luzerne County, the black bear. A bear finally briefly visited my yard in Hazle Township this past week and I hoped to see another one or two on my hike in the game lands. I have seen many bears here on my hikes in previous years but not a one this year.
The high bush blueberries were ripening and I hoped the bears would be feeding on them as they have in the past. It was foggy and a muggy 63 degrees when I arrived at the game lands around 7;30 a.m. We had some much needed rain overnight and the woods were still very wet. It was quiet. I didn’t hear or see a lot of song birds. I think one of the reasons was the warblers and vireos feed on insects and the insect weren’t active since their wings were still wet from the rain and fog.
The rain and fog also uncovered hundreds of spider webs along the trail. The moisture in the air clung to the delicate, and usually invisible, webs making then visible as I walked past them. They were everywhere. I never realized how many spiders there were in the woodlands.
and I finally heard some birds, eastern towhees, foraging in the leaf litter on the ground. . A few would fly to a tree branch and sing. You can see from the wet feathers on this male that the ground was still soaked from the rain.
I soon found out how wet they were when I came to the old railroad right of way that would take me down a ridge and through a wetland to the Black Diamond Trail. The trail was covered in grass, very wet grass, and my sneakers, and socks were soon soaked. Walking 7 miles in wet shoes is not fun.
American chestnut leaves along the trail. This young chestnut tree may produce a few chestnuts but it will eventually succumb to the blight that depleted this tree that once was one of the most dominant trees in our forest.
As I proceeded on the trail I soon came face to face to a lot of much smaller critters, these small spiders had spun their webs across the path, The were spun right at my face level and I pulled dozen of these webs off of my face.
white meadowsweet, and
Once on the wider and better maintained Black Diamond Trail I walked south toward Moosehead lake. Along the way I found that there were still some milkweed flowers in bloom although many had already finished blooming and were developing small seed pods.
that was singing in a tree across from the wetlands. The sun was now shining in clear, hazy skies and it got hot. I saw no more birds on my 7 mile hike. This is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the birds i saw on my hike in State Game Lands 119. State Game Lands 119 birds July 17 2022.
After watching the birds at the wetlands I continued my walk on the Black Diamond Trail. Once again I reflected on the life of Alexander Mitchell Palmer, the 50th U.S. Attorney General as I walked past his childhood home in these remote woodlands.
I hike about two mile to this old concrete railroad telephone building where I left the Black Diamond Trail and followed another old railroad right of way to back up the ridge to ward the parking lot of the game lands.
As I noted earlier, we have not had a lot of rain here in Northeastern Pennsylvania o I have not been seeing a lot of mushrooms. However when I came to a small stream that still flows. along the trail I did find this amantia
and a few milker mushrooms, Lactarius volemus .
They get their name because of the white milk-like substance it produces when broken, The are edible but please don’t pick and consume any wild mushroom unless you absolutely know they are safe. There are species of mushrooms in our woodlands that are deadly.
The trail took me to the access road, the old Hollenback Road, to the State Game Lands 119 parking lot. It was another mile and I was getting hot and thirsty. I still kept my eyes peeled, I have seen bears on this road but not on Sunday. I finished my 7 mile hike. I didn’t see a bear or bobcat but I still enjoyed my hike in the woodlands. I also enjoyed sharing the photos I took here on my blog. Take a look, here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike in State Game Lands 119. State Game Lands 119 July 17 2022.
“Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden hearts and reconnect to that inner place of peace.”